But in the real world,
Anywhere that counts,
Measurements are iffy;
You’ve problems to surmount.
An error band surrounds
Every measurement you take,
It confuses and it obfuscates
The reckonings you make.
Where rounding is an issue
And precision is a key.
So if you measure two-point-four,
Don’t round it down to two
And add it next to two-point-three
And think that you are through.
Two-point-four and two-point-three
Sum to four-point-seven;
You may round that up to five
Without a math transgression.
So now you see that four’s
Not always two plus two;
They sometimes sum to five
For large enough values.
By Kate Rauner
Thanks to one of my favorite sites, straightdope.com, where Cecil recently reminded me of an old math joke: 2 + 2 = 5 for large enough values of 2. Here’s another one:
Mathematicians at a conference take a break at the bar.
“This is a real math town,” says one. “Everyone here knows math.”
“I bet our bartender doesn’t know that the integral of X squared is one third X cubed,” says a second mathematician.
They bet and when the bartender comes over to take their orders, they ask her:
What’s the integral of X squared?
She smiles and says: “One third X cubed plus a constant.”
I haven’t tried to make that one into a poem yet.
All my books, including collections of my science-inspired poetry, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll also find paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats at Smashwords. Read one today.
UPDATE: 2nd edition of Rhyme and Reason available now – expanded with more new poems 🙂 at Amazon or your favorite store – all major digital formats.